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World Series

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31867.  Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:55 pm Reply with quote

I'd be interested in hearing how many of you thought (as I did) that the baseball 'World Series' was named after a newspaper, the New York World?

Apparently it ain't so, but I bet it'd catch the Question of Sport types out - Jupitus, f'rinstance.

Wikipedia has:
A persistent myth is that the "World" in "World Series" came about because the New York World newspaper sponsored it. Baseball researcher Doug Pappas refutes that claim, demonstrating a linear progression from the phrase "World's Championship Series" (used to describe the 1903 series as well as some of the 19th-century postseason series) to "World's Series" (a term first used in the 1880s and which persisted for decades) to "World Series". Furthermore, investigation of the New York World for the relevant years revealed no evidence of the supposed sponsorship. (For details, see Mr. Pappas' web page on the subject.)

linking to this:
One baseball myth that just won't die is that the "World Series" was named for the New York World newspaper, which supposedly sponsored the earliest contests. It didn't, and it wasn't.

In fact, the postseason series between the AL and NL champs was originally known as the "Championship of the World" or "World's Championship Series." That was shortened through usage to "World's Series" and finally to "World Series."

This usage can be traced through the annual baseball guides. Spalding's Base Ball Guide for 1887 reported the results of the 1886 postseason series between Chicago, champions of the National League, and St. Louis, champions of the American Association, under the heading "The World's Championship." As the editor noted, the two leagues "both entitle their championship contests each season as those for the base ball championship of the United States," so a more grandiose name was required to describe the postseason showdown between the two "champions of the United States."

But the Spalding Guide -- which, after all, was published by one of the world's largest sporting goods companies, with a vested interest in bringing baseball to other lands -- had grander ambitions. By 1890, the Spalding Guide was explaining that "[t]he base ball championship of the United States necessarily includes that of the entire world, though the time will come when Australia will step in as a rival, and after that country will come Great Britain; but all that is for the future."

This didn't happen, but the name "World's Championship Series" stuck. Reporting on the first modern postseason series, the Red Sox-Pirates battle of 1903, the 1904 Reach Guide called it the "World's Championship Series." By 1912, Reach's headline spoke of the "World's Series," while editor Francis Richter's text still referred to the "World's Championship Series." The Reach Guide switched from "World's Series" to "World Series" in 1931, retaining the modern usage through its merger with the Spalding Guide and through its final issue in 1941. The separately-edited Spalding Guide used "World's Series" through 1916, switching to "World Series" in the 1917 edition.

The Spalding-Reach Guide was replaced as Major League Baseball's semi-official annual by the Sporting News Guide, first published in 1942. The Sporting News Guide used "World's Series" from 1942 through 1963, changing to "World Series" in the 1964 edition.

Moreover, the New York World never claimed any connection with postseason baseball. The World was a tabloid much given to flamboyant self-promotion. If it had been involved in any way with sponsoring a championship series, the fact would have been emblazoned across its sports pages for months. I reviewed every issue of the World for the months leading up to the 1903 and 1905 World's Championship Series -- there's not a word suggesting any link between the paper and the series.

31883.  Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:57 pm Reply with quote

Your Jupitus point is fair enough, but as for myself, I didn't know the urban myth to start with.

31929.  Thu Nov 17, 2005 4:01 am Reply with quote

We can test it round the table this evening, but I'm pretty sure this would catch Sessions, Anderson, McGrath, or Clarkson.

Frederick The Monk
31930.  Thu Nov 17, 2005 4:05 am Reply with quote

You got me.

Although that's not necessarily all that difficult.

31950.  Thu Nov 17, 2005 7:10 am Reply with quote

I was astounded last night to hear that the World Series was named after the New York World, and am now frankly a bit disappointed that isn't.

49963.  Thu Feb 09, 2006 10:22 am Reply with quote

The myth is indeed pretty widespread - it’s basically an anti-American story; it “shows” how provincial and yet imperialistic they are, that they claim a “world” series in a one-nation sport.

However ... the reason I’ve never used it in my FT column, is that I’ve seen the debunking debunked (which would work fine, I should think, for the show).

Eric Law wrote in his ‘Sporting Vernacular’ series in The Independent (27 October 2003) that the newspaper sponsorship story “is a myth. The paper had no connection. The World Series began in 1903, pitting the champions of the National League against the upstart American League, and followed the format of a similar competition in the 1880s. The first few were known variously as the ‘championship series,’ ‘world championship series’ and ‘world’s series,’ before becoming standardised.”

50173.  Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:25 am Reply with quote

I've road-tested this with various people, and no-one I've spoken to has heard of either the myth or its debunking, so I think this is a non-starter.

50493.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:06 am Reply with quote

Same here, Flash, to my amazement. I suppose that makes the debunking of the debunking of the myth the single most obscure factoid in the entire history of the World.


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